Ori Gersht

Born Tel Aviv, 1967

Ori Gersht, ‘Rear Window 2’, from the series ‘Rear Window’, 2000, © Ori Gersht (click image for larger version)

‘The series calls into question our familiarity with our own natural habitat, pointing out the gulf between the sky that we believe we know, and that of the photographs: a gap between the mechanical, attentive and unassumptive vision of the camera, and the presumptive and subjective vision of the human eye.’
Ori Gersht

Ori Gersht works in photography and film. He took the photographs for the Rear Window series over a period of two years from the same window in his flat. Shot without filters or other manipulation, they record dramatic skies above London and explore the optical effects that the light and atmospheric pollution of the city have on the sky above.

Gersht uses the sky as a canvas for his experiments with the physical properties of photography. Through colour saturation, these almost abstract images assert both the primacy of natural light (the raw material of photography) and the ability of colour photography to interpret it.

Time After Time & Blow Up [2007]

The large-scale photographs entitled Blow Up depict elaborate floral arrangements, based upon a 19th Century still-life painting by Henri Fantin-Latour, captured in the moment of exploding. Gersht´s compositions are literally frozen in motion, a process dependent on the ability of the advanced technology of photography to freeze-frame action. This visual occurrence, that is too fast for the human eye to process and can only be perceived with the aid of photography, is what Walter Benjamin called the ‘optical unconsciousness’ in his seminal essay ‘A Short History of Photography’.

Flowers, which often symbolise peace, become victims of brutal terror, revealing an uneasy beauty in destruction. This tension that exists between violence and beauty, destruction and creation is enhanced by the fruitful collision of the age-old need to capture “reality” and the potential of photography to question what that actually means. The authority of photography in relation to objective truth has been shattered, but new possibilities to experience reality in a more complex and challenging manner have arisen.


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